Top Gutter Guard is reader-supported. When you buy through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission.
Hanging gutters is a very tough job. The task is time-consuming and it takes a lot of concentration and technical skills, which not everyone’s strong side. Not many people feel comfortable climbing a ladder and know the application of all the tools involved. But if we know something about life, it’s that it’s unpredictable, and as a homeowner, at some point in your life, you’ll probably have to deal with the serious task that is hanging gutters. And how you can do this wrong are countless, while there’s only one right way. Many things can go wrong or not as estimated, so you should be prepared for all kinds of situations. There are 5 quite common mistakes, which can be easily avoided when hanging gutters, only if you know-how. Here you can find out which are these mistakes.
Choosing the wrong gutter type
There are many kinds of sizes, styles, and materials from which gutters are made. Each type has its benefits and drawbacks, but if you choose the wrong one for your home, it will be a nightmare. To avoid this common mistake you need to look for the most durable material you can afford and speak to a hardware store clerk about shingle sizes and the correct gutter width that would be suitable for your house.
The most popular materials they use to create gutters from are vinyl, aluminum, and stainless steel. Vinyl is considered to be the most popular one, because the installation is quite easy, but they are not the best choice if you live in a cold climate, because vinyl cracks over time. Aluminum gutters are the second most popular choice because they are rust-proof and lightweight, but they can easily suffer from dents and bents caused from the ladder or a tree branch hanging nearby. Stainless steel gutters are the most durable option available on the market, but they also come with a very pricey price tag. But if you can afford it, they can last for decades without showing a sign of wear and tear.
The material of your gutters is only the first choice. After that you need to decide on the shape that would be suitable for your roof – the choices are between sectional or seamless, as well as K-shaped or half-round forms of guttering systems. There are many sizes available according to your roof’s shape and the climate you live in. The gauge is also an important part of the gutters, so make sure you choose the right one, especially if you live in a region where extreme weather events are a possibility. All these choices strictly depend on your budget, the environment around the house and the roof type you have, so make your choices wisely.
Improper spacing of the hangers
Every guttering system is attached to the roof using a mounting system or different kinds of hangers, which can be placed inside, outside, or they are attached with a strap. You need to space the hangers closely together to provide the gutter with the so much needed support. Without this support, the gutters will sag. Without hangers, the water in your guttering system will keep collecting in the lower points. As a result, the gutters will be ripped off the house because of the weight at some point. So, if you’re using hangers, make sure they are spaced according to the instructions, so the gutters can stay where they belong.
Leaving too much space between the hangers is the most common mistake, which leads to gutters sagging and water pooling. The rule for the spacing is to place the gutter hangers around every three feet unless you live in an area where lots of snow and ice are a possibility. In such cases, every two feet is a better option.
Improperly Locating The Gutter
Locating the gutter is also a very responsible part of hanging gutters. Many people make the common mistake to think, that the gutters must be attached to the edge of the roof. But the truth is, that they need to be attached a few inches under the edge of the roof. This is done because during rains, the water tends to drip not only from the edge of the roof, but it also gets pulled under it and drips from there. If you allow for this to happen on a regular basis, it will lead to deterioration of the fascia boards and stains on the siding. To avoid that problem, make sure the gutters are attached beneath the edge, so they can catch every drop of rainwater. Another permanent solution to this problem is to install a drip edge, which will help escort the water in the right direction.
Incorrectly Calculating The Pitch
All the gutters usually seem to be perfectly even, but this is only an illusion. In order to work properly, the gutters need to have a slight pitch. This way the rainwater gets pushed towards the downspouts and finds a safe way down. The pitch is gradual and barely noticeable, but it actually also helps sweep away all the leaves and debris, and keep the gutters clean. While you mount the gutters, you need to check them with a level to ensure they have the proper pitch, to avoid flooding on your roof.
Both too much and not enough of an angle will affect the speed in which the water runs through the system, which can be detrimental to its condition through the years. According to experts, the recommended slope towards your downspouts is around a quarter-inch for every 10 feet. The gutters should never be level because this will lead to water stagnation and then a mosquito infestation.
Using Too Many Seams
The final step of hanging gutters is to weld them together in order to be attached. But have in mind that using fewer welds is the best decision you can make. Over the years, the gutter alloy, especially near the seams, will be subjected to extreme force, temperature, and huge amounts of water. This will put lots of pressure on all the connections, and if you don’t check them occasionally, they gutters will just break apart at the seems. The seams are the weakest point of the entire system, so limit their count to the absolute minimum and make sure they are sealed properly. Seamless gutters are a quite popular solution to this problem nowadays.
The gutter installation process is very complicated, it requires many measurements and a steady hand to place them properly. You also need to be very careful not to damage the gutters during installation, because bends and scratches are a common occurrence. And if even a small portion gets damaged, you will have to replace the entire section, which can become very pricey. And more than half of all domestic accidents involve a ladder, so you need to tread lightly.